Allergen Immunotherapy

Allergen immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy shots, can make a huge difference for those experiencing allergy symptoms. With an 85-90% improvement rate, allergen immunotherapy can offer both temporary and long-term relief for those grappling with the daily impact of allergies.

What is Allergen Immunotherapy?

Allergy shots, also known as allergen immunotherapy, are a long-term treatment that decreases symptoms for patients with seasonal allergies (hay fever), perennial allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (an allergy to dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, cockroach), allergic asthma, eczema, and stinging insect allergy. Allergy shots result in “desensitization” to allergens. Patients can then have increased exposure to their allergic triggers without developing troublesome symptoms.

How It Works

The protocol followed in our practice includes a build-up phase and a maintenance phase.

First Appointment

Allergy shots are administered via very small subcutaneous needles. After a patient receives their allergy shots, we have them wait for 20 minutes in the office.

Build Up Phase

Patients first start out in the “build-up phase” in which they come in once a week for seven months. Some patients choose to come in twice a week (if allowed by insurance). During the “build-up phase” patients have up to 13 days to remain on schedule. If there are 14 days or longer between allergy injections, the dose will need to be adjusted down (based on how long it has been between injections).

Maintenance Phase

Once the “maintenance or target dose” is reached, the allergy shots are gradually spread out to once a month. Patients then have up to 6 weeks to remain on schedule. When new vials are prepared during the maintenance phase, the dose needs to be lowered and quickly built up with 3 biweekly visits. This typically occurs once a year. Patients are generally maintained on allergy shots for five years. Patients are retested prior to stopping allergy shots.

Who Do We Consider for Allergy Shots?

  • Patients with severe year-round or seasonal allergies
  • Patients who have unavoidable exposure to their allergic triggers
  • Patients who have complications from their allergies – such as asthma, recurrent sinus infections, recurrent ear infections and eczema
  • Patients who do not respond to appropriate medications
  • Patients who do not tolerate allergy medications
  • Patients who do not want to be on medications long term given medications are not a cure but are rather just “masking the symptoms

What Types of Allergies Can We Treat with Allergy Shots?

Seasonal & Indoor Allergies

Desensitize immune response, reducing symptoms and providing long-term relief from common allergens.

Bee Sting Allergy

Mitigate severe reactions by building tolerance to mitigate the risk of life-threatening responses to stings.


Desensitize to environmental allergens that cause the baseline airway inflammation in many patients that suffer from asthma. 


Alleviate eczema symptoms by addressing underlying allergies, leading to improved skin health and comfort.

Allergen Immunotherapy FAQs

Allergy shots improve symptoms via the subcutaneous route triggers a protective or “non-allergic” immune response to the treating allergens. This allows one to develop “tolerance” or an “immunity” to the allergen.

The only medical risk associated with allergy shots is an allergic reaction. The most common reaction is localized redness, pain and itchiness at the site of the injection. Systemic allergic reactions can also occur, but they are very rare. It is generally believed to occur in 1 per 100,000 injections. In addition, the majority of allergic reactions occur in the first 20 minutes, which is why we have patients wait for 20 minutes. As an extra safety precaution, we insist that all patients who receive allergy shots in our office carry Benadryl and an Epipen for at least two hours after receiving their injections.

85 – 90% of patients improve with allergy shots. Different patients respond to different doses. The textbook answer is it takes 6 – 9 months to achieve a clinical improvement. Some patients notice an improvement within a few weeks of starting allergy shots. Other patients might not notice a significant improvement until maintenance doses are achieved. Some patients need to have their maintenance doses increased above the typical dose to achieve the desired benefit.

No. There are certain patients that cannot receive allergy shots:

  • Patients who are less than five years old
  • Patients who are on beta blockers
  • Patients who have unstable cardiac disease

Talk to a provider about allergen immunotherapy today.